EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) has recommended authorising an adapted bivalent vaccine targeting the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 in addition to the original strain of SARS-CoV-2.
This recommendation will further extend the arsenal of available vaccines to protect people against COVID-19 as the pandemic continues and new waves of infections are anticipated in the cold season, the Ministry of Health said in an announcement on Tuesday.
Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.4-5 is for use in people aged 12 years and above who have received at least a primary course of vaccination against COVID-19. This vaccine is an adapted version of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech).
Vaccines are adapted to better match the circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2 and are expected to provide broader protection against different variants.
The CHMP based its opinion in particular on the clinical data available with Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.1. Apart from containing mRNA matching different, but closely related, Omicron subvariants, Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.4-5 and Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.1 have the same composition. Clinical studies with Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.1 showed that the vaccine was more effective at triggering an immune response against the BA.1 subvariant than Comirnaty, and was as effective as Comirnaty against the original strain.
Side effects were comparable to those seen with Comirnaty.